Pellegrino: "As the mother of two daughters, I’m committed to ensuring that they can grow up in a society that doesn’t limit their possibilities because of their gender."
Long Island, NY - April 17, 2018 - Assemblywoman Christine Pellegrino (D-Babylon/Islip/Oyster Bay) announced she passed legislation to help ensure women in New York State earn equal pay for equal work.
“As the mother of two daughters, I’m committed to ensuring that they can grow up in a society that doesn’t limit their possibilities because of their gender,” said Pellegrino. “I’m fighting to make sure that when women enter the working world, they are given an equal chance and equal pay. We owe our daughters nothing less.”
While the gender pay gap has narrowed since 1980 due to increased access to higher education, decreased occupational segregation and expanded employment opportunities, women in New York State still earn just 89 cents for every dollar men earn. Despite some signs of progress, 4 out of 10 women reported experiencing discrimination at work in 2017, primarily in the form of unequal pay.
The New York State Fair Pay Act addresses and enforces pay equity, including broadening equal pay protections to include equivalent jobs and ensuring that occupations traditionally filled by women and people of color are not undervalued (A.4696). As a former teacher, Pellegrino understands how certain jobs are persistently undervalued given the amount of time and energy they require.
The legislative package also includes measures that would implement a state policy of wage equality for state and municipal employees, as well as direct the Civil Service Commission to study and publish a report evaluating wage disparities among public employees in order to establish where and how inequalities exist (A.658, A.2549).
To further combat wage inequality, another measure bans employers from requesting, requiring or seeking a current or prospective employee’s salary or wage history as a condition of employment or promotion (A.2040-C). This all-too-common request puts many women at a disadvantage in pay negotiations, noted Pellegrino. The package also gives public employees a private right of action to sue for compensation and enforce equal pay disparities (A.2425).
“This critical legislation moves our state one step closer to realizing true gender equality,” said Pellegrino. “I’ll continue doing anything I can in the Assembly to ensure a level playing field for all New Yorkers.”
Equal pay legislation is just one way Pellegrino has been fighting for women’s equality. She helped pass legislation protecting women’s reproductive rights, as well as a measure preventing domestic violence abusers from accessing firearms that was recently signed into law (Ch. 60 of 2018). She also organized a #MeToo forum at Stony Brook University featuring the movement’s founder, Tarana Burke, to discuss ways to address and prevent sexual harassment.